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Sea Tales: Steve Vernon's Sea Tales, #6

Sea Tales: Steve Vernon's Sea Tales, #6

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Sea Tales: Steve Vernon's Sea Tales, #6

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Oct 17, 2016


Let's face it.

About seventy-five percent of the world is covered in water - and of that water nearly ninety-seven percent of it can be found in the sea. Maritimers will tell you that there is a story for every wave that has ever washed upon the shoreline.

Here are seven of them.

"In the Dark and the Deep" offers a very haunting yarn of World War 2 convoy duty and a sailor who made and kept a terrible bargain.

"Harry's Mermaid" introduces you to a group of homeless men who catch something that MIGHT be a mermaid. If that doesn't tell you enough about this story just try and imagine what Steinbeck's CANNERY ROW would read like if it had been written by HP Lovecraft.

"I Know Why The Waters of the Sea Taste of Salt" is a tale of an Okinawa-based Japanese Air Force suicide pilot and his encounter with a sea monster - of sorts.

"Finbar's Story" is a dark fantasy tale of the deeper currents that eddy and flow within the deep quiet currents of a man's cold heart.

"The Woman Who Lost Her Tooth From Laughing Too Loudly At The Sea" is a quiet little fable of salt water, tears and regret.

"Between You-Know-Who and the Deep Dark Blue" is a story of the last bargain on earth.

This collection begins with a bargain and ends with a bargain - which sounds like a heck of a bargain to me.

Oct 17, 2016

Sobre el autor

Everybody always wants a peek at the man behind the curtain. They all want to see just exactly what makes an author tick.Which ticks me off just a little bit - but what good is a lifetime if you can't ride out the peeve and ill-feeling and grin through it all. Hi! I am Steve Vernon and I'd love to scare you. Along the way I'll try to entertain you and I guarantee a giggle as well.If you want to picture me just think of that old dude at the campfire spinning out ghost stories and weird adventures and the grand epic saga of how Thud the Second stepped out of his cave with nothing more than a rock in his fist and slew the mighty saber-toothed tiger.If I listed all of the books I've written I'd most likely bore you - and I am allergic to boring so I will not bore you any further. Go and read some of my books. I promise I sound a whole lot better in print than in real life. Heck, I'll even brush my teeth and comb my hair if you think that will help any.For more up-to-date info please follow my blog at:http://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/And follow me at Twitter:@StephenVernonyours in storytelling,Steve Vernon

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Sea Tales - Steve Vernon


To the sea that swims


all of us...


I AM A STORYTELLER, first and foremost.

My natural habitat is close to the campfire and I breathe words the way that some men smoke.

I have lived by the ocean for nearly four decades. I have listened to the waves talking to the shoreline. I have heard the old ghost stories told around a thousand campfires. I have listened to the sea gulls complaining about the fishing.

This is the first of what will be a series of stories based around the sea.

You don’t have to read every one, any more than you have to count every wave that rolls up to slap itself upon the beach.

Come here and give a listen.

I’ve got a tale for the telling.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

In The Dark and the Deep


A torpedo track, furrowing the water, passed straight abaft of our corvette, the Thistle. There was a muffled crump of impact. A mere seventy-five yards away from us, the tanker Cassandra settled and tilted, taking on water fast.

Man the depth charges, our captain sang out.

The order was instinctive and unnecessary. Men already stood by, ready to roll the fat deadly barrels from the stern rail. The crews of the port and starboard throwers launched another pair of depth charges into their high carved arcs. We spread the charges out as widely as possible, knowing that the U-boat would already be on the move, trying to evade our certain retaliation.

The depth charges were a blind luck measure. They sank slowly, giving the U-boat a lot of time to escape. It was almost impossible to aim them, and the hulls of the U-boats were so solid that only a near-direct hit would have any effect, but they panicked the U-boat crew, and more importantly, they gave our crew the much-needed feeling of accomplishment.

The asdic crew hunkered beneath their headsets, knowing full well that the rough water and the impact from the depth charges’ undersea explosions rendered their listening gear nearly useless.

We were aiming blind, as usual.

Fumes of petrol coiled up from the tanker like slow blue snakes curling hypnotically through the air. I saw the captain frozen at the helm for less than half of a second, his mind warring between trying to save the crew of the Cassandra or else hunting the U-boat.

A fragment of a second.

That’s how long a war can last, sometimes.

The Cassandra went up in a ball of fire. Men screamed in the flames, their lungs filling with oil, flame and sea water. The tanker - gutted and twisted into a dozen strange angles, slowly slid a little farther beneath the calm gulp of the cold gray Atlantic water.

Silhouetted by the lantern of the rising flames of the sinking tanker we saw the the U-boat, its deck crew frantically training their gun towards us.

He might have surfaced to finish the tanker off, or perhaps our depth charges had driven him up to the surface. We didn’t know, and it didn’t really matter. We hit them with everything we had. We pounded them with our 4-inch cannon, the steady 2-pounder pom-pom, the 40mm Oerlikons, and the big .50 caliber machine guns. Those who had pistols and rifles stood at the deck railing firing away like we had come to a pigeon shoot.

The gods of war smiled on the U-boat gun crew. They got off a single lucky round that neatly snapped our radio mast. That was their last good shot. We closed in on them, raking their deck mercilessly. A point-blank blast of our 4-inch cannon demolished the U-boat’s conning tower.

The U-boat was helpless. We could have ordered their surrender, but we weren’t in the mood for any kind of mercy.

War will do that to you.

At this point of the game it was nothing but simple retaliation. They had hurt us and now it was our turn to hurt them.

We moved in closer and began banging away in earnest.

And then the flames reached the Cassandra’s secondary tanks and the resulting explosion blasted the U-boat to the lowest region of hell. The blast rocked the Thistle, charring the port side of our vessel and damned near sinking us.

We cheered like a boatload of blood-crazed barbarians. Hurrah, blood had been spilt.

Hurrah, victory was ours.

It was our third day at sea, and we had suffered our first casualties.

Our luck was beginning to turn.

I VOLUNTEERED FOR DUTY during the first year of the war.

I had originally wanted to fly for the RCAF, but my reflexes refused to test quite fast enough.

Well, I said, if I am not good enough for the Air Force, then the Navy can have me.

As far as I was concerned, it was the RCAF’s loss and the RCN’s gain.

I served my first day at sea on the twentieth anniversary of my birth. There were younger men on board than I. In fact, most of our crew was youngsters. The oldest sailor on the deck crew was barely thirty years of age, and we called him Pappy.

We had shipped out of Halifax, escorting an HX class convoy, bound from Halifax and headed towards Britain. It looked easy on the map, just a happy two-week jaunt from here to there.

Or rather a two-week jaunt through U-boat-infested waters. And as we got closer to the English Channel, we’d have the Luftwaffe Condors and the dive-bombing Stukas and patrols of German E-boats to watch out for.

It was as easy as falling overboard, and a little more dangerous.

Still, we made out fine.

We had a good crew.

Our captain was in his late forties, I would guess. We called him the old man when he wasn’t listening. He had the lean weathered look of a man who had spent most of his life upon the open sea and the rest of it impatiently waiting for his next mission.

Just as soon as I laid eyes on him, I decided that he was a man that I could trust with my life, yet there was one other whom I would come to rely upon in a far deeper fashion than mere trust.

I MET BIG JIMMY NOONAN the first day I boarded, bumping into him as I stepped off of the gangplank. It was a little like banging face first into a solid brick wall, only not half as gentle.

Well, I take it that ‘Grace’ is not your middle name, he rumbled.

I stepped back. Big Jimmy Noonan was one of the biggest men I’d ever seen, his shoulders bowed like bow staves, his arms the thickness of hawser cable, with fists that could easily serve double duty as caulking mallets.

He fixed me with a once-over sweep of a stare, like a captain might eye an uncharted shoal that he was trying hard to fathom. You’re new here, aren’t you?

Yes, sir.

I looked to see a rank, but the fold of his sleeve seemed to obscure any sign of insignia or station. I didn’t know it yet, but that air of mystery was a style that Big Jimmy Noonan wore as easily as some men wear a hat.

Don’t ‘sir’ me, boy. I work for a living, and you would do well to remember that. What’s your name?

William, sir. I mean—just William. William McTavish.

McTavish, is it? he asked. Well, you’re ‘Taffy’ from here on out, d’ya understand?

I nodded.

Keep a weather eye forward and the bean farts abaft of you, and you’ll make out just fine.

He grinned and slapped me on the shoulder. I felt as if I had been issued a temporary stay of execution.

TWO DAYS HAD PASSED since the sinking of the Cassandra.

The sky was clear and the sea was calm and you scarcely would have known that there was

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